Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Time to Say Goodbye Book Review

Time to Say Goodbye by S. D. Robertson

Click here for the Amazon product page.


Will Curtis's six-year-old daughter, Ella, knows her father will never leave her. After all, he promised her so when her mother died. And he's going to do everything he can to keep his word.

What Will doesn't know is that the promise he made to his little girl might be harder to keep than he imagined. When he's faced with an impossible decision, Will finds that the most obvious choice might not be the right one.

But the future is full of unexpected surprises. And father and daughter are about to embark on an unforgettable journey together.

Review by Brittany:

Both the cover and the description of this novel intrigued me and prompted me to request to read it through NetGalley.

The first thing I'll say is that blurb does not indicate what happens in the very first two pages - Will's death. When I started reading this book, I was shocked and revisited the blurb to see if I had missed something big, but the blurb does not indicate that this is a bit of a "ghost" or "spirit" story.

That being said, although that's not really my type of book, I enjoyed this one. I liked the humor of it, and Will's constant shock and struggles with his newfound existence were at times really amusing. He also meets a lot of people who help guide him through this purgatory he's found himself in.

What I wasn't prepared for is how brutal this book gets at times. As Will works through his feelings and tries to connect with his daughter from his new plane of existence, he watches life unfold around him. He sees his family grieve and the ways in which that grief starts slowly tearing them apart. Throughout this tragedy, more befalls the family, and the novel got pretty intense at times. There were moments when I felt myself near to tears for these poor people.

I did enjoy getting a chance to read about a father and daughter having a positive, lasting relationship. I haven't come across a lot of novels that cover that quite as well as this one did. I also really liked the supporting characters; Will's family steps in to take care of Ella, and they all play an important part in the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Although the blurb was a bit misleading, I'm glad I picked it up. I would definitely recommend this heartfelt read.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

We Need to Talk About Kevin Book Review

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver


Eva never really wanted to be a mother - certainly not of the boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him.

Now, two years after Kevin's horrific rampage, it is time for her to try to come to terms with her son's actions - and her fear that she may be in part responsible.

Review by Brittany:

Whoa. I first decided to read this book after it was recommended to me, with the warning that the book was brutal. That's not an exaggeration.

The book is written in letter format, all from Eva to her husband Franklin. She begins by describing her feelings about having a baby and goes through Kevin's childhood up through adolescence, interspersing bits of the present in with her recollections of Kevin's past.

This book is hard to read. The subject matter is intense for sure, but I wasn't prepared for some of the hard confessions that Eva makes regarding Kevin and her feelings about him. From the beginning, she doesn't feel connected to him like she thinks she should. Throughout the book, as she revisits incidents that she now sees as precursors to Kevin attacking his classmates, her negative feelings about him were difficult to read. There's also an element of this book that plays on the natural fears and worries that all women have about becoming mothers, which added to the intensity of the subject matter.

The book also outlines the breakdown of Eva's marriage, which was almost as difficult to read about as her relationship with Kevin. I really just felt so sad for all of them. Eva loved Franklin so much, but the difference in each of their relationship with Kevin was enough to pull them apart slowly. The author did a fantastic job with detailing the decline of the relationship, so much so that I could almost feel Eva's frustration and sadness.

The end of the book finally breaks down the day of Kevin's school massacre. It was painful to read and so difficult to imagine how a human could do that to someone else. Because the book is from Eva's point of view, the reader gets skewed insight into Kevin's mind, so there is no clear indication of why Kevin did it. The ending also provides a bit of insight into Kevin and Eva's relationship as it stands now, two years after the incident.

Overall, this book is just tough. It is well-written and a fantastic read, but it's a hard one to swallow.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Girl You Lost Book Review

The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft

Click here for the Amazon product page.


Eighteen years ago, Simone Porter's six-month-old daughter, Helena, was abducted. Simone and husband, Matt, have slowly rebuilt their shattered lives, but the pain at losing their child has never left them.

Then a young woman, Grace, appears out of the blue and tells Simone she has information about her stolen baby. But just who is Grace - and can Simone trust her?

When Grace herself disappears, Simone becomes embroiled in a desperate search for her daughter and the woman who has vital clues about her whereabouts.

Simone is inching closer to the truth but it'll taker her into dangerous and disturbing territory.

Review by Brittany:

This is the second novel I've read by this author, and I enjoyed this one as much as the first.

The reading experience on this one was a bit more complex, both because the plot gets complex and because of the sheer number of characters that Croft uses in this novel. During Simone's investigation into Grace and Helena, Simone comes across loads of people that the reader has to remember. There were occasional points in the story where I had to stop and try to remember who some of the people were.

That being said, by the end of the novel, it all ties in nicely. The reader understands how all of these characters tie together and what dismal secret it is that has tied them all together. I think Croft did a fabulous job of making all of the plot points reach an explanatory ending, without making everything happy and neat.

This book does not have a happy ending. It isn't always an easy read, although the suspense of it keeps you turning pages. There are some themes explored in this book that are tough, so sensitive readers may want to think twice before picking them up. Lives are lost, marriages are put to the test, innocence is destroyed, and some of the bad guys don't get what you feel like they deserve. But there's something appealing about that because it resembles reality.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I thought it was suspenseful and interesting, and it kept me turning pages, trying to figure out what happened to Grace and Helena. The twist ending was also intriguing, and while I had an inkling of what it might be, I couldn't predict it. I recommend this book to those who love thrillers and are looking for a good, affordable read.

Notable quotes:

It is the only way you will be able to sleep at night: to feel there is a clear distinction between human and monster, a line so wide that you will never meet anyone who has crossed it.

How is it that someone so fucked up, someone capable of such atrocities, can still have love in their hearts?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Timeless Book Review

Timeless by Gail Carriger


Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly.

Until, that is, she receives a summons that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

Review by Brittany:

As a standing fan of the Parasol Protectorate series, I knew I was going to love this one.

My favorite thing about this book was Prudence. As a toddler, she has become quite the precocious character. Her powers were also interesting, allowing her to take over the supernatural state of anyone she touches, with Alexia being the only known antidote to it. The author explores other limitations to her abilities and limitations to Alexia's abilities as well.

I also enjoyed learning more about Alexia's father and her domestic help, Floote. There was a relationship there that the author explores a bit more in this book than in previous books, but I would still like to learn more about those characters. Floote is extremely intriguing. Professor Lyall also got a bit more exploration in this novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed as well.

In the end of the book, certain characters are going through major changes. Ivy embarks on a great new adventure, and Biffy's role in the pack is altered as well. I would love to read more about these things and see how the future develops for these characters.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It made a great addition to the series, and I'm sad that it's the end! I am planning to continue with this series by reading Carriger's spin-off that includes Prudence as the main character. If you are already a fan of Carriger's, obviously you'll want to pick this one up! If you aren't already a fan, you should become one!